In the wake of a boom in renewable energy, energy companies must scale up in order to meet increasing demands. This has made construction timelines and the reliability of energy production more imperative than ever before.
Here’s the thing. The average solar construction project is delayed by about 20% with the consequences hovering around $2M in costs. For example, according to the EIA (US Energy Information Administration), about 20% of the solar photovoltaic capacity that was planned from January through June 2022 didn’t go online as scheduled.
More often than not, current methods to meet construction deadlines fall short because they are usually done manually, inconsistently, infrequently, and mainly rely on third-party vendors.
Manual, ad-hoc solar construction monitoring is causing you delays
- Accurate surveying for project planning is vital to ensuring that solar plants reach their full potential. For example, the location and plan for PV installations will impact how much energy a plant produces during its lifetime. Planning that is based on high resolution terrain mapping, as well as shade analysis, will ensure maximized yield and long-term profitability.
- Compliance with plans during construction is performed primarily by field engineers who manually compare drawings to make sure as-built is according to design plans. Because many engineers are supervising multiple construction projects, sometimes in remote rural locations, deviations from the design are often caught when it’s already too late to correct.
- Monitoring the progress of construction means keeping track of the deadlines, budgets, plans, and regulations of projects. Since many construction managers are in charge of multiple projects (or one huge project) they often rely on third-party updates from contractors and subcontractors. These tend to be done using paper spreadsheets or online ones, and are difficult to keep track of when so many vital details need to be charted.
- Enforcing warranties during commissioning kick starts only once solar panels are generating electricity for the first time, because these types of faults are not visible to the naked eye. In order to detect malfunctioning panels, a thermal inspection needs to take place, and the data needs to be analyzed to detect thermal anomalies. Only then can warranties be claimed, based on geospatial records of all anomalies detected.
- Managing the masses of data that come from different sources, tools, and applications is a must for any company that wants to follow regulations, identify problems before they cause damage or failure, understand which parts of the project are on schedule and what areas are experiencing problems.
A single sophisticated software can streamline the entire process
Percepto AIM is a cloud-based software that manages all visual data captured by drones or any other visual sensor, on a digital twin of your site. It serves as a centralized repository of data for all your solar farms, from pre-construction to operations, and automates the transformation of the captured data into actionable information.
Working behind the scenes, but accessed from an intuitive dashboard, AIM helps optimize and streamline solar construction for groundwork, construction, commissioning, and operation and maintenance.
- Engineering – AIM mapping tools generate 2D maps and 3D point clouds, mapping the terrain for site surveying and planning. To accurately estimate and monitor earthwork, AIM data analysis tools can produce detailed reports that measure slopes and pile volumes, as they change over time.
- Construction – AIM software provides visibility into what is happening on your site and tracks construction progress on a daily basis–even from remote locations. The software object counting algorithms don’t only count objects but also segment them according to type. It can share detailed updates on how many poles or panels are installed each day, and generate updates on progress vs. goals, all on a dedicated dashboard. In addition to detailed progress reports sent to all stakeholders on a daily basis, the construction progress is also displayed on a map timeline, where you can not only track progress in numbers but also in geolocation, as all data is displayed on a geospatial map of your site.
- Commissioning – Once the electrical stage of construction is complete, the site is ready to start producing electricity. Percepto AIM data analysis tools produce detailed PV anomaly reports, accurate to the cell level, on a geospatial map of your site. This makes it easy to streamline warranty enforcement and hand over a fully operational site.
Meet increasing green energy demands with Percepto AIM
For solar asset owners and EPC contractors, meeting the increasing demands for green energy poses several new challenges. And when scaling up construction to meet those demands, having one, easy-to-use software platform is key to staying on top of your projects.